Raiders

Raiders CB Damon Arnette Is the Steal of 1st Round

The opening night of the 2020 NFL draft is in the books. The Las Vegas Raiders surprised some with their selection of Alabama’s wide receiver Henry Ruggs III over CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy with their 12th overall selection. With the 19th overall pick, they caused even more perplexion amongst the fanbase, as the team opted to choose former Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette.

Damon Arnette, CB

Age: 23 (Will turn 24 when the regular season starts)

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 195 lbs.

The name from Ohio State that many hoped for, Jeffrey Okudah, was the third overall choice by the Lions. The one they got instead, with the team’s 19th overall pick, was Damon Arnette, a choice that no one outside of the Raiders front office could have foreseen or believed to be true before Thursday night.

Strengths

  • Damon Arnette was exceptional in pass coverage for the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2019. He made major strides compared to his junior season in the following regards.
  • 43.6% catch rate, 60.6 Opposing QB Rating when targeted (2019)
    • 67.4% catch rate, 98.4 Opposing QB Passer Rating when targeted (2018)
  • In four seasons, he never allowed more than one receiving touchdown in single coverage.

  • In press man coverage, Arnette displays high levels of physicality and high football IQ more often than not.

  • Not only is he physical in coverage, but he is also a defensive back who is more than willing to make a play as a run defender as well.

  • Most importantly, he is a ‘junkyard dog-like’ competitor according to multiple coaches, teammates and scouts.

https://twitter.com/tsontv/status/1253517129451819008

Weaknesses

One of the main concerns regarding Arnette’s game is his questionable long speed as he transitions to the NFL. Undoubtedly, he will be lining up against some of the fastest receivers on the planet. Another question mark, is his maturity.

In Review

While many were blindsided by Arnette’s selection at 19th overall, he is a testament to what the Raiders front office seeks in a player.

  1. Toughness
  2. Physicality
  3. Will to improve both on and off the field.

In regards to his will to improve off the field, Arnette’s maturity was questioned early in his collegiate career. At the 2020 NFL Combine, him and teammate Jeffrey Okudah spoke on how a connection at Las Vegas general manager Mike Mayock’s alma mater affected their lives for the better.

In addition, when a NFL Hall of Famer takes a vested interest in you, you’re more than likely doing more than just a few things the right way.

Once again, Mayock displays that he possesses a never ending web of connections. For the Silver and Black, his ties to Boston College may have been the catalyst for turning a potential mid round pick into a top 20 selection. Ultimately, the team addressed a need and found another physical press man cornerback to pair outside with Trayvon Mullen.

Related: Raiders GM Mike Mayock emphasizes the importance of later rounds in the draft

Top Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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